Men’s Fashion Basics – Part 57 – Key Colour: Purple

Following on from last week’s article on the colour green and what it can do for you, I thought I would turn to a colour that is similarly underestimated and overlooked. This colour would be purple.

First of all, when it comes to purple, I have a bit of a love/hate relationship. When I was younger I used to think it was great. All I ever wore was black back then so I thought wearing a hint of purple here and there made me super edgy and cool. However, with hindsight, the kinds of purple I was picking did not flatter my skin tone and often washed out my skin, leaving me looking a little bit dead. Which isn’t a great look, I’m sure we can all agree.

So for many years now I have steered away from purple all together. However, in the last few months, I’ve started to come around to it. I think it is the ideal accent colour that, when used in small doses and in the right shades, can really bring a look to life.

The Colour Purple

But how does purple work in a style sense? During Greek and Roman civilisations purple was often considered as a sign of royalty due to it’s rarity as colouring and being affordable only by the elite. It occurs by mixing different elements of red and blue and is situated between navy and violet on the colour wheel – although violet is often considered a hue of purple.

Based on it’s position in the colour wheel, complimenting colours would be yellows and dark blues, while a nice contrasting colour would be either green or orange. However, I would suggest bearing these colour combinations in mind for when you are using purple in small doses rather than, for example, blocking colouring yellow trousers and a purple shirt together.

If you do want to use purple in a significant way, I would keep the rest of your outfit in shades of black, grey and navy, in order to help anchor the colour.

How To Wear: Purple

As usual, if you are new to colour, why not start off with something small. A pair of vibrant purple socks look great with dark denim and brogues. A purple patterned pocket square adds a shot of colour to a navy or grey suit jacket. Or if you were wondering what to wear with your khaki suit during the summer, why not pair a dark purple tie with a lilac shirt?


Once you have mastered the art of subtle purple, why not take things up a gear? Purple coloured knitwear looks great during autumn/winter and looks great when paired with some camel or green chinos with a solid white or light blue shirt underneath.

Or why not try some plum chinos and anchor them with your grey t-shirt and green utility jacket?


Finally, try and master the art of the purple shirt. For those with darker skin tones, try and stick to lighter shades such as lilac. At the other end of the spectrum, lighter skin tones will look much better when utilising a darker, richer purple.

Look around and try out some shirts in autumnal plaids, subtle florals or dressier solid work shirts – then try pairing them with green, navy, grey and black. If you are feeling super confident then why not go all out and invest in some purple footwear?

Similar Articles